Spam: Strategies For Reducing Unsolicited Emails

Mail box with no spam sign

Spam is a common, and often frustrating, side effect to having an email account. Although you will probably not be able to eliminate it, there are ways to reduce it.

What is spam?

Spam is the electronic version of “junk mail.” The term spam refers to unsolicited, often unwanted, email messages. Spam does not necessarily contain viruses so some valid messages from legitimate sources could fall into this category.

How can you reduce the amount of spam?

  • Be careful about releasing your email address

    Think twice before you respond to any request for your email address, on the web, verbally, or on paper.
    Spammers can harvest any email address posted on a website or buy a list of victims from unscrupulous vendors who sell their mailing list.
    When you give your email address to a company, or a store, that information is often entered into a database so that customer information and preferences can be tracked. If these email databases are sold to or shared with other companies, you can receive email that you didn’t request.
    So the next time you make a purchase and they ask you whether you want an emailed or a printed receipt, choose “Print only”.

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Identity Theft: Preventing and Responding to Identity Fraud

Identity theft: a criminal running away with stolen personal information from a compromised tablet computer.

Following the recent public disclosure that hackers believed to be operating on behalf of a foreign government breached the networks of the U.S. government and multiple US companies, it is safe to assume that online frauds and scams like identity theft will follow.

Identity theft, or identity fraud, is a crime that can have substantial financial and emotional consequences. Take precautions with personal information. If you become a victim, act immediately to minimize the damage.

Is identity theft just a problem for people who submit information online?

You can be a victim of identity theft even if you never use a computer. Malicious people may be able to obtain personal information (such as credit card numbers, phone numbers, account numbers, and addresses) by stealing your wallet, overhearing a phone conversation, rummaging through your trash (a practice known as dumpster diving), or picking up a receipt at a restaurant that has your account number on it.

If a thief has enough information, he or she may be able to impersonate you to purchase items, open new accounts, or apply for loans.

The internet has made it easier for thieves to obtain personal and financial data. Most companies and other institutions store information about their clients in databases; if a thief can access that database, he or she can obtain information about many people at once rather than focus on one person at a time.

The internet has also made it easier for thieves to sell or trade the information, making it more difficult for law enforcement to identify and apprehend the criminals.

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Guards Up: Stop Cyber-Criminals From Preying On Your Business

Types of cybercriminal activities like electronic fraud and illegal computer access.

Cyber-criminals are counting on you letting your guard down during this global coronavirus pandemic – Here’s how to stop them by keeping your guards up.

The world is slowing down during this COVID-19 pandemic. Wall Street is being hit hard. People are no longer going out. We’re told to quarantine or self-isolate and not engage in groups.

You can bet there’s one group that’s not slowing down at all. In fact, they’re probably working overtime while the rest of us have our lives turned upside down. Cyber-criminals and hackers know there’s no better time to strike than during a global crisis.

While you are distracted and spending your time trying to make sense of this new normal, they are finding new ways into your IT network so they can steal data and passwords, compromise your clients’ private information and even demand large ransoms.

Cyber-crime is already on the rise and is expected to cause $6 TRILLION in damages by 2021! But, if history repeats itself, hackers will be out in full force throughout this coronavirus scare. We fully expect in the upcoming weeks that headlines will change from stories about COVID-19 to accounts of a frenzy of cyber-attacks on corporations and small businesses.

Here are solutions you can implement now to keep your guards up and help protect your business data, money and productivity: (more…)

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COVID-19 Phishing: How to Protect Against Phishing Emails

Fake SBA COVID-19 Relief website

Malicious cyber threat actors are actively involved in COVID-19 phishing by spoofing (pretending to be) the Small Business Administration (SBA) COVID-19 loan relief webpage via phishing emails. These emails usually include malicious links to websites that look like the SBA’s coronavirus relief website with the intent of stealing credentials for the online accounts of victims.

COVID-19 phishing emails target executives of companies and organizations, leaders of state, local, tribal, and territorial government recipients, as well as small business owners with subject lines like “SBA Application – Review and Proceed”, or text in the email body urging the recipient to click on a link to a bogus website address.

What is Phishing?

According to the Legal Dictionary, the term phishing refers to “the act of fraudulently acquiring someone’s personal and private information, such as online account names, login information, and passwords.”

This information may then be used to steal money, order products using the victim’s credit cards, and otherwise defraud the victim. Phishing is accomplished through online means, meaning through the use of email, social media, and other internet-related methods. (more…)

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Prevent Hackers From Invading Your Computer Network During A Crisis

Computer hackers attacking different electronic devices

If you run a small business or organization, you are a target for cybercriminals. At this point, it’s just a fact of life. Hackers, scammers and threat actors of all kind target small businesses because they are plentiful, and more often than not, they lack good cyber security (if they have any at all). Here’s the kicker: these criminals don’t need to use malicious code or advanced hacking skills to get what they want. In reality, many of them target your biggest vulnerability: your own employees.

It’s a sad truth, but every day, employees of small businesses let hackers right in because they don’t know better. They see an e-mail from the boss, open it and click the link inside. By the time they realize they’ve made a mistake, they’re too embarrassed to say anything. From there, the problem gets worse. Actions like this can end in DISASTER for your business.

The problem is that most employees do not have the training to identify and report IT security issues. They are not familiar with today’s threats or they don’t know to not click that e-mail link. There are many things employees are doing – or not doing – that cause serious problems for small-business owners. Here are five things people do that allow hackers to waltz in through your front door. (more…)

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Phishing And Spam Emails Are Dangerous For Small Businesses

Cyber criminal using a phishing hook on endpoints

Email is critical to an organization. Phishing provides a way for cyber criminals to use email as a disguise to try to sneak by and steal business data.

There are only so many ways to break into a bank. You can march through the door. You can climb through a window. You can tunnel through the floor.

There is the service entrance, the employee entrance, and access on the roof.

Criminals who want to rob a bank will probably use an open route – such as a side door. It’s easier than breaking down a wall.

Cyber criminals who want to break into your computer network face a similar challenge. They need to enter. They can look for a weakness in your network – maybe a vulnerability in your server – but it’s easier for them to use an open route. Email is one of their favorites.

Email is a door into your computer network. Data passes through it every day. If criminals want to break in, some will throw on a disguise and try to sneak by.

By pretending to be someone else, such as someone you respect, they will try to earn enough of your trust to steal from you.

This is called phishing. (more…)

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